When I was 15, I made my first mix tape. I was bored one Saturday afternoon and wanted to while away a few hours, and I thought it might be fun to consolidate my favorite songs onto one casette tape. So I dumped my entire collection of tapes onto the floor of my parents' den, armed myself with pen and paper, and began to write out my tracklist.
I soon realized that making the perfect tracklist would not be quite as simple as I had initially thought. As I examined my collection, I found myself considering overall cohesiveness, male/female singer equanimity, variety of genre, and ratio of popular to obscure song choice. At that moment, I embraced my inner music snob. and I have never looked back. This mix was going to be no mere dumping of songs; it would be a work of art.
Anyone who has ever made a "mix-on-tape" (for whatever reason, I feel as if the "phrase deserves quotations marks) knows what I'm talking about. Nowadays, we just load a bunch of songs onto a computer program, hit a key, and 5 minutes later our mix is done. But back then, mixmaking was a labor of love - a multi-hour process of rewinding and fast-forwarding, reworking song order, and pausing at just the right moment. Most importantly, it was a lessson in timing. As any afficiando will tell you, the mark of a superior cassette mix is that thelast song on each side ends mere seconds before the tape runs out.
I still have that first mix, and excepting a fewunfortunate song choices (ie, Aerosmith's "What it Takes," and more than a reasonable amount of selections from the 'Pretty Woman' Soundtrack (Go West, anyone?)) I am actually quite impressed with my fifteen-year-old mixmaking prowess. Come on, how many sophomore girls' high school mixes include ""Oceans" (Pearl Jam), "Black Metallic" (Catherine Wheel) and Simon and Garfunkel's "Cecila" all encapsulated onto one 90 minute piece of Sony plastic??
Here's a bit of a test. If anyone emails me in response to this post I will send them, free of charge, a casettte AND CD copy of the mix in question... come on, 1993 was a really GOOD year for music...